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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Thursday, December 17, 2020
This article was originally published December 17, 2020 in the National Catholic Register.
by Jennifer Roback Morse
I commend New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Visa and Mastercard for exposing and fighting the plague of the sexual exploitation of children on the internet. Kristof’s pathbreaking story shows just how widespread kiddie porn really is, and how easily the innocent can be entrapped in its snares. Hawley has introduced legislation making it easier for victims to sue. And Visa and Mastercard have withdrawn their services from the Pornhub site. This issue transcends liberal and conservative, left and right. However, something more needs to be said.
In his Dec. 4 story, Kristof focused on the pornography distribution site Pornhub. He noted that a search on the site for “girls under 18” and “14yo” both yielded more than 100,000 videos. They include the rape of children, as well as strangulation and other vile acts. The mega-site attracts more than 3.5-billion visits a month, making it the 10th most-visited website in the world.
Largely in response to this story, Visa and Mastercard announced that they would no longer allow their cards to be used to pay for services on Pornhub. In addition, Hawley filed the Survivors of Human Trafficking Fight Back Act, creating a private cause of action for victims of rape and sex trafficking. The act would allow victims to sue websites that knowingly depict forced sex acts, criminalize the knowing distribution of videos of coerced sex acts, including criminalize “revenge porn,” which is the non-consensual distribution of sexually explicit images by an ex-lover to cause embarrassment or distress to the victim.
All these are good steps. I very much appreciate Kristof and The New York Times for this reporting. However, there is still one thing that troubles me.
Kristof stated, “The issue is not pornography but rape. Let’s agree that promoting assaults on children or on anyone without consent is unconscionable. The problem with Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein or Jeffrey Epstein was not the sex but the lack of consent — and so it is with Pornhub. ... It should be possible to be sex positive and Pornhub negative.”
Perhaps it “should be possible.” But I’m not convinced. I think this is one of those exquisite distinctions that is possible in theory, but not possible in fact. The reason? The underlying principle of pornography is that sex is a recreational activity with no intrinsic moral or social significance. The only possible problem with porn or with any sex really, is a lack of consent. Assenting to this view of human sexuality is, I suppose, what it means to be “sex positive.
But this view places more weight on the concept of “consent” than it can reasonably bear. We’ve seen throughout the #MeToo movement, that power imbalances can blur the lines between consensual and nonconsensual sex. As Catholics, we have seen many of our bishops ignore the sexual harassment of seminarians, under the theory that they were adults. And I think we have all seen enough to conclude that being “sex positive” does not actually empower the potentially weaker party. Potential victims, such as seminarians in relation to their superiors, employees in relation to their bosses, and children in relation to anybody, are not in a position to give meaningful consent. Our current crop of ideas about sexuality actually disarms potential victims, placing too much responsibility on their shoulders and ignoring their vulnerability relative to the offenders.
Kristof quotes some of the victims. Their responses are telling.
"I had expected the survivors to want to shut down Pornhub and send its executives to prison. Some did, but others were more nuanced. Lydia, now 20, was trafficked as a child and had many rape videos posted on the site. “My stomach hurts all the time” from the tension, she told me, but she doesn’t want to come across as hostile to porn itself.
“I don’t want people to hear ‘No porn!’” Lydia told me. “It’s more like, ‘Stop hurting kids.’”
In my opinion, Lydia doesn’t need to be “nuanced.” She has every reason to be angry. She should not have to worry about whether she comes across as “hostile to porn.” She has every right to be just as darned hostile as she wants.
Here is Kristof again:
"I asked Leo, 18, who had videos of himself posted on Pornhub when he was 14, what he suggested.
“That’s tough,” he said. “My solution would be to leave porn to professional production companies,” because they require proof of age and consent."
I don’t think this line can hold. “Consent” isn’t strong enough. An arbitrary age isn’t strong enough. The underlying problem is that too many of us believe sex is a recreational activity to which all consenting adults are entitled. In fact, some go so far as to believe that a person cannot have a healthy or meaningful life without plentiful sexual activity.
These ideas about human sexuality have put down very deep roots in individual minds and in public institutions. As a culture, we have no objective moral reference point by which to judge any particular intimate encounter, apart from “consent." And let’s face it, we can easily deceive ourselves when we are deciding whether to excuse ourselves or restrain ourselves. In an intimate encounter, almost by definition, there is no one else around to judge us. The power of “sex positive” ideas will bulldoze through the thin line of “consent.”
I propose an alternative view of human sexuality. No one is “entitled” to sexual activity. Sex is something sacred, that potentially holds the literal power of life and death. The lifegiving potential of sex, the life-threatening power of sexual exploitation, we should accept these as facts, not as outmoded prejudices that we are well rid of.
I don’t think poor Leo should be put in a position to have to say this is “tough.” What happened to him was wrong. What led up to what happened to him was also wrong, including the thought processes and ideas.
I hope people from across the political spectrum can work together to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children. It’s an issue of justice for the victims of child sex abuse. This plague is eating away at the soul of our society. I appreciate Nicholas Kristof’s important work on this subject. I do hope he will be willing to rethink some of his ideas. He is right on the brink of a breakthrough. And I also hope everyone reading this, will pray for him.
Posted on: Monday, September 21, 2020
Commenting on the outrage provoked by the child pornography of Netflix’s “Cuties,” Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., said: “With this highly eroticized portrayal of 11-year-old girls, the global ruling class is once again pushing the envelope on pedophilia. This latest example of the pornification of our culture shows the need for a 4th presidential debate, exclusively on issues impacting the family.”
Partnering with LifeSite, the Ruth Institute has an online petition calling for a debate focusing on what the candidates would do to strengthen the family and counter the various threats to the family.
The petition currently has more than 5,700 signers.
“‘Cuties’ is just the latest example of a growing anti-family culture,” Morse said. “Others include the two egregious Supreme Court rulings at the end of June, one striking down the mildest restrictions imaginable on abortion, and the other which would allow so-called transgenders to participate in women’s sports – thus effectively ending women’s sports.”
Such a debate might include the following questions for the candidates:
“Questions such as these will not be asked in the three scheduled debates September 29 and October 15 and 22, but for families, they are just as relevant as energy policy, trade, and public health concerns. That’s why we’re pushing so hard for a fourth debate on family issues,” Morse explained.
Sign the petition here.
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.
Pornography and sexual exploitation were topics included in the Ruth Institute’s recent Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: Friday, September 11, 2020
This article was first posted September 11, 2020, at LifeSiteNews.
By Paul Smeaton
LifeSiteNews and the Ruth Institute have launched a petition calling for an additional presidential debate to be held focusing on family issues, the cornerstone of American life.
“Everything begins with the family. Everything depends on the family. It impacts every area of life,” the petition reads.
“A strong economy depends on the next generation learning the virtues of hard work and discipline in the family. Strong national defense requires individuals who are willing to sacrifice for their families, even more than the national interest.”
Three debates are scheduled on September 29, October 15, and October 22, to cover public health, including COVID-19, public safety, the economy, and defense/foreign policy.
But Ruth Institute President Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., says that there must be a debate focused on family issues, because “the decline of the family is at the root of most of our problems.”
“Honestly, I’m shocked that we even have to state this obvious point: Every human life begins with a family. Every significant challenge the United States faces can be improved by strengthening the family,” she said.
At such a debate, voters could hear clear answers on important questions from the two men bidding to become president. The debate could address questions such as:
What do you intend to do about the horror of legalized abortion?
What are your views on sex-selection abortion and disability-selection abortion?
What are your views on medically unnecessary surgeries, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones for minor children?
Would your administration declare pornography a public health crisis, as 16 states have already done?
Morse points out that the breakdown of the family and the over-sexualization of society create massive problems which affect the economy, the criminal justice system, public health, education, and even national defense.
“The rioting in our cities is in part the result of family breakdown,” she said.
“We’re calling for one debate focused exclusively on what the candidates will do to support the family.”
Morse says that unless pro-family advocates raise their voices then issues like marriage, the right to life, parental rights in education and health, sex education in schools, pornography, population control, and declining fertility will be overlooked entirely or treated as an afterthought during this election.
“We believe this is the first time such a debate has been proposed by anyone,” Morse said. “We at the Ruth Institute and our friends at LifePetitions think it’s about time.”
PETITION: Call for an additional Presidential Debate on Family Issues! Sign the petition here.
Posted on: Thursday, September 10, 2020
Partnering with Life Site News, today, the Ruth Institute launched a petition to the U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates calling for a 4th debate to be focused on the family.
Ruth Institute President Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., explained: “The decline of the family is at the root of most of our problems. We’re calling for one debate focused exclusively on what the candidates will do to support the family.”
She continued: “Honestly, I’m shocked that we even have to state this obvious point: Every human life begins with a family. Every significant challenge the United States faces can be improved by strengthening the family. The breakdown of the family and the over-sexualization of society create massive problems affecting the economy, the criminal justice system, public health, education, and even national defense. The rioting in our cities is in part the result of family breakdown.”
Three debates are scheduled on September 29, October 15, and October 22, to cover public health, including COVID 19, public safety, the economy, and defense/foreign policy.
Morse said, “These are all important issues to be sure. But unless something is done immediately, the family will once again be ignored. Issues like marriage, the right to life, parental rights in education and health, sex education in schools, pornography, population control, and declining fertility will be overlooked entirely or treated as an afterthought.”
She added: “We believe this is the first time such a debate has been proposed by anyone. We at the Ruth Institute and our friends at Life Petitions think it’s about time.”
Sign the petition here.
Posted on: Wednesday, August 12, 2020
by Ben Broussard
This article was first published August 6, 2020, at tfpla.org.
All attendees were eager to share strategies and network with other activists.
Summit topics included abortion, pornography and transgenderism. Participants heard the testimony of former homosexuals, mothers opposing the ‘transitioning’ of their children and parents working against radical sex education.
Dr. Michelle Cretella, head of the American College of Pediatricians, discussed at length about the medical consequences of transgenderism. Sue Ellen Browder, former writer for Cosmopolitan magazine, gave insights about how major media promote promiscuity and impurity.
Members of TFP—Louisiana shared their own stories about fighting back against the Drag Queen Story Hour held at public libraries. During the concluding activist panel, Thomas Drake, president of TFP Louisiana, presented a new video showcasing the TFP’s efforts fighting back against this effort to ruin children’s innocence. Those present gave the video a standing ovation.
Members of TFP with those on the Summit Activist panel. Front row right to left; Thomas Drake (TFP), Activist of the year Cathy Ruse, Dr. Jennifer Morse (Founder and President of the Ruth Institute), Mrs. Tracy Shannon (Mass Resistance, Houston)
The summit presenters highlighted a common theme: the Church was right all along in insisting on chastity. May all Americans of good will heed the call to promote and defend this truth for the healing of America.
Posted on: Monday, July 27, 2020
The Ruth Institute’s conference explores the tragic effects of an “anything goes” culture.
by Kathy Schiffer, July 25, 2020, at NCRegister.com.
It was sometime around the mid-1960s that the sexual revolution really got underway; and in the ensuing decades, “free sex” – that is, sex without restrictions and without consequences – gained momentum in American culture. The introduction of the birth control pill effectively separated sexual intercourse from its expected result, pregnancy. No-fault divorce, sex outside of marriage, legalized abortion, promiscuity and the hook-up culture, infidelity and bigamy and polygamy, the emergence of “throuples”... inevitably led to a trifecta of sexual aberrations: pornography, homosexuality, and transgenderism.
But despite the mainstream media's embrace of alternative lifestyles, lots of people (a majority of people?) resist the assault on traditional morality. Over at the Ruth Institute, a global interfaith coalition, founder Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. has given a voice to those who appreciate the beauty of human sexuality as God intended, and who recognize the depravity inherent in society's relaxation of sexual norms.
On July 17-18, the Ruth Institute presented its third annual Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution, intended to educate the public about the millions of lives damaged by society's abandonment of sexual mores. The event was originally planned as a live conference onsite in Lake Charles, Louisiana; but because of the coronavirus, the conference was changed to a hybrid event, with both in-person participation and online involvement. Morse explained to the Register, “None of the evils we confronted – pornography, sexual abuse, gender confusion, coercive population control and dramatically falling fertility – are going to call a time-out for a pandemic.”
The Register talked with Jennifer Roback Morse about the agenda for the Summit. Unlike other conferences, she explained, this event did not rely exclusively on presentations of well-known speakers. Rather, the Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution brought together people who had suffered personally as a result of a sexually permissive society. “This is not a harmless ploy,” Morse said.
...It's a form of ideological terror that has killed a lot of people in the last fifty years. So the more we use the phraseology, the more we speak openly about how our culture has been hurt by these ideas, the more we help to identify people who have had their lives destroyed by this ideology.
Among the speakers who had personally suffered as a result of the LGBT subculture were Doug Mainwaring, a journalist who had left the homosexual lifestyle; Luis Ruiz, a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando, who left the LGBT lifestyle after that terrifying experience; and Lynn Meagher, a mother whose two gender-confused adult children have severed their relationship with her, leaving her to wonder where they are and to pray for their return to faith.
A panel on the transgender movement included parents of gender-confused children, desisters (people who lived as the opposite sex and gave it up), and resisters within the medical community. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse reported on their own experiences. Another panel featured three speakers: Faith Hakesly and Allen Hebert, who were themselves survivors of childhood abuse, and Sue Ellen Browder, the spouse of a survivor. And a third panel brought together three activists: Tracy Shannon, representing Mass Resistance of Texas; Thomas Drake of Tradition, Family, Property (TFP); and Cathy Cleaver Ruse, senior fellow at the Family Research Council, who was recognized for her work exposing and resisting the Fairfax County School Board.
Besides the “experience speakers,” those whose testimonies reveal the deep hurt caused by the sexual revolution, the Summit included the wise advice of experts. Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. is a former professor of sociology at The Catholic University of America, where he was a leader in the field of research on same-sex parenting and its implications for child development. Father Sullins, now a senior research associate of the Ruth Institute, spoke about the clergy abuse crisis, looking at past statistics and future trends. Melea Stephens, a licensed professional counselor who specializes in helping couples, explained how pornography has become a public health crisis, and focused on public policies which could help alleviate the problem. Chris McKenna, founder and CEO of Protect Young Eyes, introduced tools for parents and other educators which can help to protect children from exposure to pornography.
Intensive Leadership Training for Ruth Institute's “Ambassadors”
A new feature of the conference this year was the Ambassador's Training Program. That program, which was offered by invitation only, included presentations on Understanding the Global Sexual Revolution: Christian Anthropology, History and Social Systems, presented by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse; Medical Tragedies of the Sexual Revolution, a review of traditional Christian sexuality morality, as presented by Michelle Cretella, M.D.; Social Science Evidence, including issues such as post-abortion trauma, same-sex parenting, and children's needs for their parents, presented by Fr. Paul Sullins; and Human Rights Catastrophes of the Sexual Revolution (including population control and demographic winter), presented by Don Feder, a journalist and communications director for the World Congress of Families.
If you were unable to participate in the conference either online or in person, Dr. Morse reassured the Register that recordings from the Summit will be
available online in the near future. You can learn more about those recordings and about the Ruth Institute's other resources at the website, ruthinstitute.org.
Posted on: Tuesday, July 21, 2020
The Ruth Institute’s 2020 Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution (July 17-18) overcame last-minute challenges to emerge as an historic contribution to the cause of educating the public about the millions of lives damaged by the Sexual Revolution.
“Despite new restrictions on public gatherings in Louisiana, announced by our governor only the week before the event, our 2020 Summit was more successful than we could have hoped,” said Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.
Morse explained that the Summit was a hybrid event, with in-person participation in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and online involvement. “None of the evils we confronted – pornography, sexual abuse, gender confusion, coercive population control and dramatically falling fertility – are going to call a time-out for a pandemic,” Morse observed.
The Summit included an Ambassador’s Program (intensive leadership training, by invitation only), an Awards Banquet and the Summit itself. Sessions included Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse -- Surviving Pornography -- Surviving the LGBT Sub-Culture -- and Reporting from the Trenches on the Transgender Movement.
Among the topics covered in the Ambassador’s training program were: Understanding the Global Sexual Revolution – Medical Tragedies of the Sexual Revolution – Social Science Evidence About the Sexual Revolution – and Human Rights Catastrophes of the Sexual Revolution: Population Control and Demographic Winter.
The speakers and panelists included experts as well as those offering personal testimony, among them: Dr. Michelle Cretella (Executive Director, American College of Pediatricians), Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. (former Professor of Sociology at Catholic University of America and Senior Research Associate at the Ruth Institute), Dr. Paul Church (former Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Harvard Medical School), Sue Ellen Browder (a journalist and author of Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement), Luis Ruiz (a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shootings who subsequently left the LGBT lifestyle), Faith Hakesley (a victim of rape by a Catholic priest who met with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), Brandon Showalter (a journalist who has written extensively on the trans movement), Melea Stephens (a family therapist and board member of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation) and Attorney Cathy Cleaver Ruse (formerly Pro-Life Spokesman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops now Senior Fellow for Legal Studies at the Family Research Council).
Morse summed up the importance of having a live event during the time of COVID: “The relationships and friendships formed were invaluable. Although we were delighted to offer online participation to those who weren’t able to join us in person, including some of our speakers, there are distinct advantages that come from being physically present in a conference room with leaders and activists who are working on the same issues and share your perspective.”
“They need and deserve to have their values defended with research, analysis and personal anecdotes,” Morse said, “and we were grateful to be in a position to do just that.”
Recordings from the summit will be available on-line in the not too distant future.
Posted on: Tuesday, July 21, 2020
by Clare Walker
Excerpt from an article published July 17, 2020 at NCRegister.com.
Jennifer Roback Morse and the team at the Ruth Institute have been on the front lines in the fight against the sexual revolution since the institute’s founding in 2008. In those foundational early years, the mission was mostly educational: a series of on-campus talks and debates designed to give college students the tools and information they needed to practice sexual purity as young adults and thus be better prepared for marriage.
By 2013, the institute’s mission had expanded into the political arena, battling for the legal protection of natural marriage on the national stage. Now, in 2020, Morse and her team take on the many-headed hydra of the sexual revolution itself, mainly by seeking healing and justice for its victims: spouses abandoned due to lenient “no-fault” divorce laws, children growing up with only one parent, women hoodwinked by the feminist push to sacrifice their deep desire for children to the cultural god of career advancement, and now, men, women and children lost in the swirling confusion of the transgender movement.
If you want a deep dive into these topics, the Ruth Institute’s annual “Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution” is exactly what you’re looking for. The conference will be livestreamed on YouTube from the institute’s headquarters in Lake Charles, Louisiana, beginning Friday evening, July 17, with the Ruth Institute Awards dinner at 6pm CDT, then continuing with the conference proper on Saturday, July 18, beginning at 8am Central Time. A virtual conference pass is $30 per individual, but if you can quickly throw together a “watch party,” up to 10 people can attend for $75.
Topics to be covered on Saturday include child sexual abuse, pornography addiction, and how to break free from the “LGBT” subculture.
For more information and to register, go here: RuthInstitute.org/summit-2020. Videos of the conference will be available for viewing for several weeks.
Posted on: Thursday, July 16, 2020
"Despite the rapidly changing COVID landscape here in Louisiana, we’re pleased to announce that the Ruth Institute’s 2020 Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution will take place as planned, tomorrow, July 17 – with an awards banquet in the evening-- and Saturday, July 18, in Lake Charles,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., president of the Ruth Institute.
The Summit will be a hybrid event with both in-person participation and live-streaming. It will present an analysis of the many ways the Sexual Revolution attacks both the individual and the family, and will include the testimony of survivors.
Morse explained: “The Sexual Revolution has brought in its wake a host of pathologies and addictions. We’ll be looking at some of the most destructive of these.”
Presentations and panels will include:
The program will also include activists’ panels, question and answer sessions and general discussions.
Among the participants on the Surviving the LGBT Subculture panel is Doug Mainwaring, a journalist, and Luis Ruiz, who survived the Pulse Nightclub shootings. Both left the LGBT subculture.
“This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear both expert analysis and first-hand testimony on the trauma inflicted by the Sexual Revolution,” Morse said. “The emphasis will be on healing.”
Click here for a complete program.
To register for in-person participation or live-streaming, click here.
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.
Jennifer Roback Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact email@example.com.
Posted on: Thursday, July 09, 2020
Educating yourself is the first step in fighting the effects of the Sexual Revolution in your life and among loved ones.
The Ruth Institute is hosting its Third Annual Awards Dinner and Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution, and you're invited to join us virtually!Have you ever wondered how pornography is affecting people’s lives? The Summit’s class “Protecting Our Children from Our Pornified Culture” will open your eyes. These and other facts about pornography will be discussed:
For this and many other presentations, including surviving abuse and leaving the LGBT lifestyle, join us July 17 and 18 with a Virtual Conference Pass.